Good day to one and all! My apologies for the delay on the game recap. We've been on a GGN Staff Retreat to the beautiful Revis Island. The weather was kind of foggy (get it? I'm a riot). This is my first attempt at a game recap, so my apologies if I'm not as incisive as John Madden in the Little Giants.
I have decided to name this game the Butterfinger Bowl, due to the inordinate number of drops by our receivers. What made this game so painful to watch was that it was death by one thousand paper cuts. Not a swift blow, but slow, unrelenting frustration and pain until we all ended up crying in the corner drinking bum wine.
Nah, I'm just kidding. The game stunk but it isn't the end of the world. The AFC East is knotted up at 1-1, and the New York Jets actually have a .5 game lead because of our divisional win. So that's good. You know what else was good? Watching the New England Patriots lose. The best part of that was not necessarily the loss, but how they lost. They haven't looked great the past two weeks as a whole, so maybe it's a harbinger of things to come. Schadenfreude at its greatest.
Furthermore, we all knew this stretch of games was going to be the most difficult, and as banged up as the Pittsburgh Steelers are, they're still a great team. So, without further ado, join me below the jump as I break down The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of our 27-10 loss to the Steelers.
- Nick Folk - My love of Nick Folk is well-documented, and is currently the ongoing subject of an ESPN 30-for-30 documentary entitled, "The Scott Salmon Story: A Folk Tale." He performed admirably this week, nailing a field goal. In a game where not much went right, it was nice to be able to count on something.
- Robert Malone - Malone has been nothing short of impressive. He should have had that amazing touchback on the one yard line if Isaiah Trufant didn't have that brain fart. But his hang time has been great and he's been really booming the kick, giving the gunners plenty of time to get to the returner. Remember T.J. Conley? Neither do I.
- The Tebowcat - I wish we had seen the Tebowcat more frequently once the offense started struggling, instead of all three plays at once. We saw Tim Tebow get a great 22-yard gain, Joe McKnight with a Barry Sanders-esque 10-yard gain, and then we saw Tebow get stuffed behind the line for a six-yard loss, but let's ignore that. Bad plays happen, but they shouldn't overshadow the good looks the Tebowcat had previously. Let's file this one under "mismanaged, but still effective."
- Mark Sanchez - Let me be clear, I'm only talking about the first quarter. After that, yikes. But I can't really put the full blame on Sanchez here, a) because of that huge hit Lawrence Timmons laid on him, and b) the receivers were doing him no favors (but we'll get to that later). But in the first quarter, Sanchez looked crisp, in control, and at no point in the game did he "lose the game" for us. But he didn't make the plays necessary to win it either.
- Konrad Reuland - I'm starting to stretch this section out a bit, but Reuland looked good as a receiver in his two catches for twenty yards. With Dustin Keller out, the Jets desperately needed a tight end to stand up, and Reuland made a better effort at that than Jeff Cumberland.
- LaRon Landry - Landry was hit-or-miss this game. He delivered some great blows and had some pretty bad ones. I really think his late-hit penalty was what changed the game. We were leading, he gives them the extra yards, then they go on to take the lead and put the game away. Landry is great when he does his hitting between the numbers, but he's been asking for trouble when he does it near the sideline. He's going to keep getting flagged for that as the replacement refs catch on to his shtick the longer it goes on.
- Antonio Cromartie - Cromartie was fine for most of the game. He even had some good tackles, which is unusual for him. But he goes in the bad column because of the touchdown he gave up. He had great coverage down the field, but was content to watch Mike Wallace do his best Santonio Holmes impression as he toe-tapped his way into the end zone, without trying to force him out or deflect the pass.
- Jeff Cumberland - This goes hand-in-hand with the Reuland section above, but Cumberland did not look good this week. His inability to react to the blitz and turn around forced the Jets to punt the ball when they should have had an easy first down. It's a play Dustin Keller would have made, and if Cumberland wants to push him for the starting spot, he's going to have to make it too.
- Quinton Coples - I'm not sure what to make of Coples this week. He was only on the field for about sixteen plays or so, but didn't do anything with it. It's unclear why he wasn't on the field, and I've decided I'm going to hold it against him.
- The Receiving Corps - There's a lot of blame to go around here. The receivers struggled against press coverage and after the first quarter, failed to gain any separation against a weak secondary. Stephen Hill in particular struggled to get open, and was only targeted twice because of that. His dropped pass was a killer. Holmes started off looking great, and finally had the ball being force-fed to him, but he couldn't sustain it. He kept dropping balls left and right, and then would go cry to the refs about it and beg for a flag. I can't be too mad at him in particular though, since we know this is what he's like when we're losing, and the whole team was pretty terrible.
- Jeremy Kerley's Muffed Punt - This was brutal to watch and was the last thing we needed. The Jets just can't go a game without a turnover of some sort. Kerley was looking at the rush, and if he was so concerned about getting hit, he should have just called a fair catch. In a game where everything was going wrong, this was the icing on the cake.
- The Tackling - Our defensive tackling was absolutely putrid. Until the very end of the game, we had so many opportunities to eke out a win, but the defense just couldn't get a stop. I lost track of the number of times Ben Roethlisberger was able to escape an arm tackle (which, admittedly, he's very good at). But we whiffed numerous times on sacks and allowed Roethlisberger to extend the play when he should have been put down, hard.
- Vladimir Ducasse - I looked at a picture, and he is in fact still pretty ugly. But he played well. But man, he's ugly.
Edit: OldJetsFanatic reminded me that I forgot to include Garrett McIntyre, who should probably have gotten the game ball. In his first start over the injured Bryan Thomas, McIntyre was making tackles, sacks, and was in the backfield all day. He deserves a lot of credit for being the only defender who really showed up to play.
I just want to remind you all that we saw an incredible high against the Buffalo Bills, and an incredible low against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That was against a bad team, and a good team. The truth is we are neither that great nor that bad. We are somewhere in-between, so please avoid trying to read too much into a few games. And bear in mind that we were missing our best defender.